The best you can be may be the worst thing you can do when it comes to dating online. In a recent interview, Tinder’s sociologist Jessica Carbino explained how men looking too attractive on profile pictures deters women.
Carbino says her time at Tinder has shown her men and women swipe left and right for completely divergent reasons. “Women, according to my dissertation, are less likely to respond to messages from men who are incredibly attractive,” Carbino says in her Fast Company interview. But, she offers some sage advice to prevent this from happening. “We tell our users, mainly men, that they shouldn’t upload head shots.”
The idea of being incredibly attractive being a deterrent on a dating app seems incongruous with a dating platform where you swipe a picture and make a connection, but it makes sense. Carbino explains, “Women associate attractiveness with negative characteristics like arrogance and narcissism.” This thinking falls in line with recent findings from a July study from researchers at the University of Iowa that found people who choose to showcase their most flattering pictures were perceived as arrogant and untrustworthy.
Later in the interview, Carbino revealed that 80 percent of Tinder users are looking for a relationship beyond a one-night hookup. So, the discovery process may be quick, but the relationships are not.
Carbino admits her job as Tinder’s sociologist sometimes involves analyzing thousands of photographs to understand how people present themselves, but the findings do offer some intriguing insights. A few findings that Carbino found to be counterintuitive centered around people’s tendency to downplay themselves when, in fact, they were promoting themselves as potential dates.
“Approximately 72 percent of our users present themselves wearing very muted colors rather than a bold color,” which Carbino suggests would stand out more. Carbino also advises users to not load group pictures on dating sites, to make sure your date is thinking about you and not your hot friends.
With 15 percent of U.S. adults engaged in online dating, it might be time to freshen up on your Tinder etiquette.